I’m a fan of the comics. Newspaper comics in this instance. I also love superhero comics, but that’s a story for another day. Today we’re talking about the funny pages, and what a fancy bit of irony that Haggar the Horrible has a seemingly permanent place in “the funnies” of my local paper without ever actually striving to be funny. Why do I keep reading it? That’s a stupid question. If you only read the funny comics then you start to get an unfair bias, thinking eventually that some of the comics you usually enjoy are just not funny anymore. That’s because you’ve put your standards way too high, just like every girl I’ve ever asked out. By reading all of the comics you get a real sense for who’s trying, who’s really funny without trying, who isn’t funny, who makes you want to cry when you read their work, and last and certainly least, Haggar the Horrible.
The gloves are coming off now. I can’t even pretend to be nice to this travesty against the eyes and mind. I’ve probably read more than two thousand different (by the loosest sense of the word) Haggar comics and I can honestly say I have never laughed at any of them. I use it like a palate cleanser between two good comics. The only time Haggar has made me smile has been when I finished reading it and then looked back up to the name and saw Horrible in big red letters. This joke was sadly unintentional, though, so I cannot credit the author with it. Haggar does very little except to hammer home old gender roles and beat tired clichés to death. Haggar is where the laughter goes to die a horrible death.
Sure, there are other comics that haven’t offered anything new in the last thirty years. Beetle Baily, for example, seems to be a comic about men eating really big sandwiches and playing golf. There’s also a strong feeling that people in the military are mostly fuckarows who will do anything to get out of doing work. I’ll admit that Beetle Baily and I will never get along, but at least whoever pens that nightmare tries to draw human beings the way human beings actually look. What the fuck is going on with Haggar? His feet look like upside down mushrooms. His hand/arm looks like you took too much acid. His sword and shield could be drawn better by a six year old (literally any six year old, even those without hands) and his.. clothing, I guess? That looks like used toilet paper.
Let me walk you through the story. The comic has been around longer than I have, so this task should take a great deal of time, but of course this won’t even be my longest blog. Haggar is a viking and he raids castles and fights sea serpents. His wife is a robust woman who always wants her husband to buy her things, or if he has, buy her more and better things. His daughter is somehow thin and obviously trying for attractive, which is a real feat in genetics, given her dumpster bodied parents, and is in no way intelligent. To call her confused would be a masterful use of the understatement. She has many suitors, none of which last more than one comic. Basically she’s a viking slut. And not in the good way. His son has a girlfriend whom he actually keeps, and she can’t stop talking about how much she wants to marry him. It literally never gets old. Throw in some dog nods every once a month (why should Jim Davis be the only one to feature comic animals and no laughs?) and you’re just about at comic gold. The only thing missing is the only other character whose name I can even remember, Lucky Eddie, who is ironcailly not lucky at all. He’s mostly there to make Haggar look less stupid than he generally does. It doesn’t work very well.
Haggar is forever out looting castles and then returning home to his one room hut to be dumped on by his wife. Why doesn’t he just stay in one of those castles after he and his men have taken it over? Who knows. Why doesn’t he steal some clothing that doesn’t look like someone wiped their ass on it? Probably because that would be too hard to draw. Why do they keep him around as though he’s some kind of comic staple? I cannot answer this question except to say, “I hate the world.” Remember Calvin and Hobbes? Well drawn, funny, compelling stories that were actually variable? Do you know why Calvin and Hobbes isn’t around anymore? Know why you can’t find any new Far Side Gallery comics? Because Larson and Watterson read the comics too and they were terrified that if they just kept submitting anything to make a quick buck their comics would turn into Haggar.
Haggar is his own ring of hell. The secretive tenth ring that encompasses all others. Haggar will be around longer than I am. Haggar will spit on my grave and laugh, and it will be the only time Haggar and Laughter were ever seen together at the same time. Haggar is immortal, like so many other comics that never strove to be funny. You can try to wipe your ass with his comic, but odds are excellent that no one will be able to tell the difference.